Law, Decision, Necessity: Shifting the Burden of Responsibility

In Matilda Arvidsson, Leila Brännström & Panu Minkkinen (eds.), The Contemporary Relevance of Carl Schmitt: Law, Politics, Theology. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 107-119 (2015)
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What does it mean to act politically? This paper contributes an answer to this question by looking at the role that necessity plays in the political theory of Carl Schmitt. It argues that necessity, whether in the form of existential danger or absolute values, does not affect the sovereign decision, which must be free from normative determinations if it is to be a decision in Schmitt’s sense at all. The paper then provides a reading of Schmitt in line with Weber’s ethics of responsibility, according to which the political actor decides not arbitrarily and irresponsibly, but actively assumes responsibility for the decisions he takes.

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Johanna Jacques
Durham University


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